Suicide prevention: Safeguarding the emotional health of teens and young adults
Friday June 23, 12:00, Stavros Niarchos Hall GNO
Youth suicide is a pressing issue which stands as the second leading cause of death among teenagers and young adults. Paul Yip, Director of HKJC Center for Suicide Research and Prevention, underscored the importance of prevention over cure, identifying schools as crucial in educating and safeguarding young people. This raised the intriguing question of how educators can adequately care for children's mental health when they themselves may be grappling with their own mental well-being. Amy L. Kennedy, co-founder of the Kennedy Forum, stressed the indispensable role of adult support in protecting young individuals. Moreover, the significance of fostering a sense of belonging among students, both within the school environment and at home, was highlighted. Louisa Benton, Vice President & Executive Director of HDRF, proposed organizing panel discussions with students to educate them about the brain and combat the stigma surrounding mental health. Flora Papitsi, Psychologist at Regeneration & Progress, drew attention to the challenges faced by children in remote areas, where the stigma surrounding mental health is even more pervasive. Young people in such communities often fear embarrassment, and their parents may be hesitant to acknowledge their children's mental health issues, despite witnessing signs of self-harm. Ultimately, the speakers concluded that rejection plays a pivotal role in suicidal attempts, whereas acceptance and love are the most crucial elements in assisting teens and young adults who may be struggling.
Moderated by John MacPhee
Intervention by Flora Papitsi